Batman #227

This month’s Overvalued pick follows the same model as some of the earlier picks that I have made in this column. That the book is getting more love than it deserved. By that I mean they are books that I think don’t bring enough to the table for the value received. Iron Man #1, Silver Surfer #1, and Amazing Spider-Man #41 are examples. Overstreet, the market, and some (many) of you don’t agree with me either, but that’s OK 😊.

Batman #227 is a real puzzle for me. With the other books listed above I could point to a number of factors that could drive demand. Movies, a #1 issue, a character introduction, great covers, etc. In Batman #227 I honestly can’t see what has driven this relatively sudden surge in demand for this particular book outside of the cover, but why now? Before we get deeper let’s look at some Overstreet prices.

47th Overstreet Values for a few closely related books to Batman #227. I have also added the Overstreet 38th edition (10 years ago) * 9.2 price for these books for a little context. These prices were a real eye-opener for me. Detective #31 is also listed: warning, keep oxygen handy when viewing these prices.

8.0 9.0 9.2 *9.2
Batman #227 $259 $580 $900 $85
Batman #232, 1st Ra’s Al Ghul $230 $515 $800 $250
Batman #234 1st Bronze Age Two-Face $147 $324 $500 $260
Batman #237 1st Rutland Vt. $100 $220 $340 $175
Batman #251 Return Mad Joker $259 $580 $900 $120
Detective #31 $140,000 $205,000 $270,000 $70,000

 

It is pretty clear that Batman #227 has risen quickly over the past ten years in comparison to its counterparts in the highly collectible Neal Adams bronze age run in Batman. Ten years ago, Batman #227 was a just a bit better than a run book. It’s value the same as the Giant-Sized reprints in the run, and a little less than the popular. DC 100’s later in the run.

The book itself features a stunning Neal Adams swipe/re-creation of an enormously popular early cover on Detective #31 by Bob Kane. It has a pair of good stories from writer Dennis O’Neill and the interior artwork from Irv Novick. Very good but nothing what I would call special on the inside.

In terms of the book itself this only leaves the Neal Adams cover. Is that it? Maybe this is an example of the ever-growing slab collecting world we live in. A super-cool cover and away you go. Even if its just a re-creation. I know I have thought about buying this book myself when my slow-moving brain and slower opening wallet woke me up to the fact I was never going to be able to buy a Detective #31 without a lottery win. I settled for a hardcover Overstreet #31 that features Detective #31 on its cover to partially quench my thirst for Batman #227. The over-heated prices for the book have finished the job.

In my mind Batman #227 shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same breath as Batman #232 or #251, let alone the same value. Both of those books kill Batman #227 for interior content and feature excellent Neal Adams original artwork. Issue #251 features a Neal Adams cover, interior pencils and inks, and for me is the high watermark in his run.

I am very interested to hear what anyone has to say on this book. What else is driving this? I have learned one thing about these type of books, and how I feel about perceived value, and what they deserve. Deserves have got nothing to do with it.

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Mike Huddleston
Mike was born and raised in Cambridge, Ontario. He has read and collected comics for over 40 years. A Marvel Zombie specializing in the Silver, bronze and early copper age of comics.
Articles: 101

12 Comments

  1. Mike, I have various answers for you but first I have a question – if you are complaining about #227, why aren’t you complaining a hundred times more about Detective #31? I guess this verges on heresy, but why aren’t you questioning the reason people will pay astronomical sums for that book? You can probably get a Detective #32 for a twentieth of the price or less – is the story in #31 really that much better? (Just to pick one other book – have you ever read what’s in Suspense Comics #3?)

    I like the Overstreet prices for #31 in 8.0/9.0/9.2, especially since there are no unrestored copies above 8.0. I think they are just a tad conservative, given that a 1.0 sold for $44k last year.

  2. Another great addition to Overvalued Overstreet, Mike. I agree that those prices for #227 are completely ridiculous. Is it because no one can afford Detective #31 and this is the next best thing? Is it seen as the true embodiment of O’Neil and Adams’ quest to bring the character back to its early roots? Is it merely because it looks so badass slabbed? The homage cover is so prevalent in modern comics, variants, etc, I can see its increased popularity being due to it being an early homage cover, maybe the earliest, but certainly one of the best. Can anyone think of an earlier one?

  3. Great pick… but I’d have to disagree 🙂 I started collecting in 2008 and it was harder then to get this one compared to other Adams Batmans, and over the years it’s stood out as just the best-looking Adams cover of the lot. I still don’t have a copy but I’d pay the current going rate and think it’s justified. It is just the cover that makes it desirable… but what a cover!

  4. PS I suspect this cover is so appealing these days because it recalls the ‘darker’ Batman so popular since Frank Miller’s series

  5. This was the last Batman issue I bought to complete a big run. Mostly because the price p*ssed me off so much. It’s an “OK” cover but I just don’t see why it’s valued so highly. I’d rate #244 much higher than this issue. And, the story’s not great either.

  6. Thanks for the comments guys.

    Chris – I don’t pick on those big books because I can’t really relate to them at the prices they fetch. They are the price of houses. I don’t think I know anyone who could even buy these books, without having to move into a tent..

    Batman #227 really does puzzle me in the terms of -why now? The book was around over thirty-five years before it started moving. What triggered its sudden ascension?

    Darren – Nick Fury Agent of Shield #3 (1968) by Jim Steranko looks like an early homage to me. Even has a little Batman like figure in the corner of the cover.

    Simon – I have been told this book is harder to find in higher grades. It does have a tough black cover It will be interesting to see how many Batman #227 emerge as the price moves up. I will guess it hits $1000 in 9.2 in the next Overstreet. Ten years ago at $85 I would think many people just kept them in their collections. We’ll see.

  7. I will have to respectfully disagree with you on this one. I absolutely love this book. It’s one of the best Neal Adams covers ever and it does look freakin’ great in a slab. I have a CBCS mid-grade slabbed copy. It took me a long time to get one at a price I wanted to pay. Slabbed or raw. It doesn’t matter. The sales can’t justify the claim of overvalued. Overstreet was just late catching up to the game on this book. Which doesn’t surprise me. In comparison to the other book values above though, I think Batman 232 and 234 are undervalued.

  8. My calculations show that Batman 227 and 232 in 9.2 currently stand at $1,370 and $1,033, while at 8.0 at $520 and $610. This leads me to believe that the darker, beautiful cover 227 is more in high grade demand, while 232 has a greater demand across all grades as it is a historic issue. Batman 227 has similar high grade demand as, say ASM 63.
    The highest grade ‘Tec 31 to sell (that I am aware of) since 2002 was a 5.5, which now has a value of about $137,500. If the 8.0 pops up it should command about $350,000.
    Great work, I enjoy your thoughts.

  9. Thanks for all your interesting, and diverse comments.

    Max – can see your not a huge fan of the book. Hard to sell a book that caps off a run too. On a positive note you will probably make some money on the book when you do sell it.

    Nathan – I agree the price the book is getting is still well above what Overstreet is reporting in the guide, and they probably were off a bit 10 years ago when they gave the 9.2 $85. My claim for overvalued is what the book delivers in terms of content, not monetary. It is a great cover but it is a re-creation of a Bob Kane cover. I am probably old school here, but I wouldn’t want my best cover to be a copy of someone else’s original work. Obviously the market disagrees with me and this cover is enough to drive the price. Neal Adams has done a ton of great covers but none of them are rocketing like this one. Might be Simon’s observation about the darker Batman on the cover of #227. Walt did a UV spotlight on #232 some time ago but didn’t touch #234 yet. He didn’t do a Batman #227 either,it is way too late for that one.

    Alex – great pricing info and I think that certainly fits the Batman #227 high grade copy theory. The price on a book that is all about the cover will and as you point out does suffer in lower grades. A key book like Batman #232 delivers big-time on the inside as well. If a high grade copy of Detective #31 ever becomes available I can’t imagine what it would get. The kind of book you dream about finding in an attic.

  10. Overvalued compared to others maybe but Neil Adams is iconic and his bronze age Batman run highly desirable. That being said tho, Batman 232 is way more undervalued than 227 and 251 are overvalued.

  11. Good points Jefe. Since I made this post I have had a little time to reflect on the comments (all good). One of the things I think I may have let bother me a bit about the book was the fact it was a swipe of Detective #31. Neal Adams does so much awesome original work, why so much love for a copy?

    I was listening to the radio at a party recently and a version of “Running up that hill” was playing by a group called Placebo. I commented that this was a re-make of song by Kate Bush. This was followed by “its My Life” by Gwen Stefani. I commented that this was a remake of a song by a group called Talk Talk. No one new about the the original or cared for that matter. – they liked this version and it was theirs.
    I think to a degree this has happened to Batman #227. New (and some old) collectors/investors are spurring the recent interest in the underappreciated cover of this book, and they don’t care if the cover was a swipe, this is their version of the cover. And let’s face it is an awesome cover.

    Back in the 70’s I didn’t know the song “Money” by the Flying Lizards was a remake of a Beatles song (who also re-made it). I didn’t give a s#@t either I liked the Flying Monkey’s version!

  12. Jefe – I don’t know, #251 is actually one of the better stories from that era. A lot of them are just Batman getting knocked out (which seemed to happen every issue) and solving a pretty lame story. #251 is a murder noire and contains artwork that’s been lifted countless times for promotional materials. I even had a t-shirt of Batman running as a kid that I didn’t know was from #251 until I bought it. For good or bad it modernised the Joker, who remains a shadow for most of the story and has a truly epic cover.

    These days the Joker is over-cooked and one-dimensional. I used to think that I just wanted to read every Joker story but then I realised he never develops or really does anything interesting. With the introduction of Harley Quinn, he’s more Mickey Mouse club and friends than unpredictable menace. I don’t know how many times I ready a story where Batman should have killed him but doesn’t and then he goes away and kills 56 people. It kills the realism of the Batman character. But then, Batman seems to be getting his a$$ kicked so often by female super-martial-artists these days that they’ve diluted the character into a bit of a joke. Shame….

    Sorry, digressed a bit there…

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